You have volunteered in some way in the past year - that's not up for debate - you just might not realize it!
At it's core, volunteerism is the principle of donating time and energy for the benefit of other people in the community. When considered in this light, the scope of activities that are considered as 'volunteering' grows substantially.
When you hear the word 'volunteer', you probably think about going out into the community and donating your time with a non-profit organization or at an event they're hosting. While this is definitely volunteerism, we want to get you thinking outside the box about more informal contributions - they're just as important and are happening every day!
This year, Volunteer Canada released a study called "Recognizing Volunteering in 2017" which states that the traditional definition of volunteering is outdated and has evolved to include more informal contributions. This is great news as Volunteer Canada has found that an astounding 82% of Canadians volunteer informally.
So, what does informal volunteering look like?
Well, it's things we know you do all the time! As long as it's taking place outside of your household and your family, your small favours and random acts of kindness are actually volunteerism. They should be acknowledged and celebrated just as much as formal contributions!
- Running a carpool
- Walking your neighbour's dog
- Donating blood
- Helping someone with housework, yard work, and household maintenance
- Cleaning up your neighbourhood
- Donating used clothing
- Babysitting or house sitting for free
- Baking for a bake sale
- Helping someone get to their appointments, run errands, or go shopping
- Assisting with paperwork (filing taxes, banking, completing forms)
- Offering unpaid teaching, coaching, tutoring, or reading
- Helping a friend move in or out of their house
Celebrating the informal also allows for more inspiring stories to be created and shared not only on Do Some Good, but on every social platform. It can represent a company's culture and be used for recruitment or recognition, or it can simply inspire another individual to pay it forward. It also allows those who can't find the time for formal volunteerism to still feel like they're participating and making an impact. An inclusive environment is great fuel for continuous giving.
But wait - there's more!
Ever heard of virtual volunteering? Virtual volunteering is completing volunteer tasks over the phone or internet - think web design, marketing, and social media management, just to name a few! Virtual volunteerism is gaining a lot of awareness and momentum as people realize all that they can offer from the comfort of their own home! Check out this article to learn more about this movement!
Now that you know all the different volunteer opportunities available to you, get creative! Incorporate informal and virtual volunteerism in to one action by sharing a non-profit's social media page to help them raise awareness! It's that easy!!
Take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate everyday acts of kindness just as much as the big volunteering events. A positive action creates an equally positive reaction and kindness makes the world go 'round!
Written by Amanda Campbell and the Do Some Good Team